South Africa

DOCKET NUMBER 971/02/2021

Applications by Gupta associates delay Nulane fraud and money-laundering case

Applications by Gupta associates delay Nulane fraud and money-laundering case
Former Transnet board member Iqbal Sharma in the Bloemfontein Magistrates' Court on 7 June 2021. (Photo: Gallo Images / Volksblad / Mlungusi Louw)

The Nulane corruption case linked to the Guptas has been postponed until later this month for the Bloemfontein High Court to hear applications brought by Dinesh Patel and Gupta acolyte Ronica Ragavan.

The Bloemfontein High Court postponed the R24.9-million Nulane corruption case on Thursday to 27 September 2022, for the hearing of an interlocutory application brought by a representative of Nulane Investments 204, Dinesh Patel, and long-time Gupta enterprise employee, Ronica Ragavan. 

The multimillion-rand fraud and money laundering case in the Free State had returned to the high court on Thursday morning for a case management session, to finalise outstanding procedures ahead of the trial, which is expected to begin in January 2023.

Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said on Thursday the case had been postponed to 27 September for an application by Patel for the relaxation of his bail conditions. 

The matter had also been postponed to allow arguments to take place after an application was brought by Ragavan to compel the State to release further particulars related to her, in both her personal capacity as well as in her representative capacity as a director of Islandsite Investments 180.

Gupta lieutenant, Ronica Ragavan appears in Bloemfontein Regional Court on Friday, 8 October 2021. (Photo: Supplied/NPA Investigative Directorate communications)

Patel and Ragavan appeared in court on Thursday alongside their co-accused, former Gupta associate Iqbal Sharma and three former Free State government officials – Peter Thabethe, Limakatso Moorosi and Seipati Dhlamini. 

Between them, they face various criminal charges, including violations of the Public Finance Management Act, fraud and money laundering, relating to a R24.9-million feasibility project, which allegedly lined the Guptas’ pockets.

The case emanates from the project paid by the Free State Department of Agriculture to Sharma’s company, Nulane Investments 204, in 2011 – where Patel, Sharma’s brother-in-law, was an employee at the time. 

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It is alleged that Sharma and his company extracted nearly R25-million from the Free State government after he outsourced the job to Deloitte Consulting for a fee of R1.5-million.

Once paid to Nulane, the bulk of the money was allegedly laundered and distributed through a scheme of transactions into and through different bank accounts and entities, including Gateway and the Guptas’ Islandsite Investments 180. Ragavan is a director of the latter.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Asset Forfeiture Unit is hitting criminals where it hurts most – nearly R6bn seized this year 

Sharma and his brother-in-law, along with the three former Free State government employees, were arrested in June 2021 in connection with the case. Patel, Thabethe, Moorosi and Dhlamini were each released on R10,000 bail, while Sharma – who was initially denied bail by the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court – was later released on bail of R500,000

Ragavan joined the list of accused after being arrested in October 2021, following a remarkable affidavit that she filed before the Free State High Court, as part of the Gupta family’s efforts to stop a draft restraint order against Islandsite Investments 180 from being made final.

She is out on R10,000 bail

Following Patel and Ragavan’s appearance in court later this month, “the matter will return to court again for all of the accused to be present on 3 November, for another case management session”, said Seboka, adding that bail for all the accused had been extended until then. DM



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  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Talk about bringing the judicial system into disrepute and it losing the respect of the citizens. Judges need to get a grip of these delays and press on regardless. And now we have obvious flight risks asking for their passports.

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